Democratic poll shows neck-and-neck race brewing in Florida House district

An internal poll shows a tight race brewing in Florida’s 16th Congressional District between Democratic state Rep. Margaret Good and seven-term Rep. Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE (R).

The internal poll from Good’s campaign, which was obtained exclusively by The Hill, shows Buchanan with a 48-45 advantage over Good among likely voters, a difference that falls within the survey’s margin of error. Another 7 percent remain undecided.

Good has a 47-41 lead among independents, and the two contenders are deadlocked at 47 percent support among seniors.

The result is a marginal improvement from the same poll conducted last month, which showed Buchanan with a 6-point advantage.

Buchanan’s favorability rating is even with 43 percent of voters saying they have a favorable view of him and 43 percent saying they have an unfavorable view. Thirty-nine percent of voters rate Good favorably, while 33 percent view her unfavorably. Twenty-eight percent of voters say they have not heard of her.

Good is also boosted by a strong showing in the poll by Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFederal judge shoots down Texas proclamation allowing one ballot drop-off location per county Sanders endorses more than 150 down-ballot Democrats Debate commission cancels Oct. 15 Trump-Biden debate MORE, who trails President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal judge shoots down Texas proclamation allowing one ballot drop-off location per county Nine people who attended Trump rally in Minnesota contracted coronavirus Schiff: If Trump wanted more infections ‘would he be doing anything different?’ MORE by 4 points in the district. Trump won the district by 11 points in 2016.

Good first gained prominence after flipping a state House district in 2018, ousting Sarasota real estate agent James Buchanan (R), Vern Buchanan’s son, in a race Democrats said was a sign of burgeoning party strength in the state. 

“In 2018, I won a special election to the state house that no one thought was possible because voters were ready for change and we are feeling that same energy on the ground in Florida this year,” Good told The Hill. “Voters want a representative who actually represents them, not special interests, and is committed to strengthening our economy, solving our water quality issues, and lowering healthcare costs.” 

“Our message is resonating, and we are committed to continuing to make sure it reaches every voter during the last weeks of the campaign.” 

Democrats are hopeful that the Sarasota-area district is in play this cycle after Buchanan’s margin of victory tightened in recent years. He won reelection by 24 points in 2014, 20 points in 2016 and 10 points in 2018. However, Buchanan remains well-known in the district and has the advantage of incumbency.

Florida House races have suddenly been thrust into an under-the-radar, yet important role in the presidential race.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLoeffler unveils resolution condemning Pelosi for comments on 25th Amendment On The Money: Trump fuels and frustrates COVID-19 relief talks | Trump proposes .8T coronavirus relief package | Vegas ties helped Trump score M windfall in 2016

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Judge’s ruling puts competitive Minnesota House race back on track for November

A federal judge set up a competitive Minnesota House race to take place next month after the sudden death of a candidate in the contest appeared to set up a February special election instead. 

Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota granted an injunction requested by Rep. Angie Craig (D), the district’s representative, against enforcing the state law that would have delayed the election until February.

The ruling comes after Adam Weeks, the Legal Marijuana Now Party’s candidate running against Craig, died suddenly in late September. The timing of his death just 40 days before an election triggered the state law delaying the contest. The law was first passed in 2013 and postpones a contest if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of Election Day. 

Under the law, the race would remain on the ballot this year, but votes tallied for the district would not be counted.

Wright said the law would “unconstitutionally burden the rights of voters who have, or otherwise would, cast their ballots in the general election” and that “Representative Craig will suffer irreparable harm absent this Court issuing a preliminary injunction.”

The judge also noted that if no election is held in November, the constituents of the district will be without a representative between the time the next Congress is inaugurated and when the victor of the February special election is sworn in.

“If a preliminary injunction is not granted, two public-interest consequences will undisputedly occur. First, all votes cast for Minnesota’s Second Congressional District in November will be discarded. Second, every constituent in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District will have no representation in the United States House of Representatives for more than a month,” wrote Wright.

The ruling puts the race in the St. Paul area district back on track for November, setting up a contested battle between Craig and Republican Tyler Kistner. Craig flipped the seat in 2018 by about 5 points, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE beat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump between rock and hard place on debates Pence-Harris debate draws more than 50M viewers, up 26 percent from 2016 Not treason, not a crime — but definitely a gross abuse of power MORE in the suburban district by just 1 percentage point in 2016.

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Internal poll shows tight race in Virginia House race

Virginia Democrat Cameron Webb has a narrow lead over Republican Bob Good in the state’s 5th Congressional District, according to an internal poll released Friday by Webb’s campaign.

In the poll, which was obtained exclusively by The Hill, 45 percent of likely voters said they would back Webb while 42 percent said they would vote for Good. The survey marks an improvement for Webb after the same poll in August showed him behind by 2 points.

The results are split along partisan lines, but Webb has been able to win over 11 percent of Republican likely voters, while Good gets the support of 5 percent of likely Democratic voters. Webb has a 42-19 lead among independents, though another 39 percent are undecided.

Both candidates are only moderately well-known, with 65 percent of voters saying they’ve heard of Webb and 68 percent saying the same of Good.

“Voters across Virginia’s 5th District are sick of the same old partisan, Washington politics, which is why they’re responding to our message of putting people over party,” said Webb. “Our message of working for consensus and ensuring opportunities for health and success for everyone is resonating with voters. I look forward to continuing to reach out to voters all across the district in the remaining 25 days.”

Democrats are betting that Webb, a medical doctor who works with coronavirus patients, can make gains in the district after Good, a former Liberty University staffer, unseated Rep. Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanWhy the Supreme Court must be kept at nine justices Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE (R) at the GOP convention after Riggleman officiated a same-sex wedding.

The party sees the district moving in its direction after Republican Tom GarrettThomas (Tom) Alexander GarrettInternal poll shows neck-and-neck race brewing in Virginia House contest GOP congressman loses primary after officiating gay wedding Virginia GOP to pick House nominee after candidate misses filing deadline MORE won there by about 16 points in 2016, but Riggleman won his first term in 2018 by just over 6 points. 

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District as a “toss up.”

The internal poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, surveyed 500 likely voters from Sept. 27-Oct. 1 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

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Virginia GOP challenger confident in close House race that has outspent presidential campaigns

Millions of dollars have been spent so far on three congressional campaigns in hotly contested Virginia districts  — with one surpassing even the 2020 presidential campaigns and another close behind.

Advertising in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District topped $11 million earlier this week, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. The 2nd District racked up more than $8 million.

Those races are roughly in the ballpark of the combined costs of advertising for President Trump and Joe Biden, which total more than $9 million.

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“I believe it’s one of the most expensive congressional races in the country already,” Joe Desilets, the campaign manager for the 7th District’s GOP candidate Nick Freitas told Fox News Thursday. “Just on TV and radio, there’s over $13 million between past and future spending in this election, and obviously there’s a ton more in mail, digital, and other campaign spending.”

Recent polls show him neck-and-neck with incumbent Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who is serving her first term after flipping the district in 2018.

Freitas’ campaign and supportive PACs have spent more than $4.4 million so far, compared to Spanberger’s $6.6 million. But Freitas is breaking GOP fundraising records, according to Desilets.

“We feel great about where the race is right now, and it’s clear that the Democrats are increasingly worried,” Desilets said. “Every time we turn around, they add another million dollars in attack ads.”

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Spanberger, a former federal law enforcement officer and ex-CIA case officer, is the first Democrat to win election in the district since 1968.

This combination of Sept. 29, photos shows President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

This combination of Sept. 29, photos shows President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

While at least three congressional races in the state are close, polls show Biden with an advantage in the presidential race. Virginia went to Hillary Clinton in 2016, and no Republican has won a statewide election there since 2009.

Still, ads supporting Biden have cost more than $6 million, roughly double what the other side has spent.

That combined total is barely ahead of the $8 million spent in the 2nd District race between incumbent Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria and GOP challenger Scott Taylor. Like Spanberger, Luria is serving her first term. She narrowly won the seat from Taylor two years ago.

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The 5th District race between Dr. Cameron Webb and Bob Good is also tight, with spending at around $4 million between the two camps.

The state’s Democratic Party summed the situation up simply in an email soliciting donations Thursday night.

“We’ve hit our fundraising goals every month this year, but here’s the thing: so have the Republicans.”

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Both parties prepare for possibility of contested election as chaotic White House race hurtles to a close

She has also directed some of her members to be ready if GOP legislatures in states with narrow margins or unfinished counts seek to appoint their own electors, a situation Democrats hope to head off with an obscure law from the 19th century that allows Congress to intervene.

The internal talks are among a number of strategy sessions taking place in political and legal circles in anticipation of a post-Election Day fight. The campaigns of President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are preparing for all scenarios, each amassing robust legal teams to prepare for post-Nov. 3 disputes, in addition to monitoring Election Day activity and ballot counting.

An uncharted battle over who the next president will be, after a campaign that has roiled and exhausted Americans, could severely test the nation’s faith in its election system — and undermine the principle that the president should be selected by voters rather than Congress or the courts, experts said.

“These are all terrible scenarios to contemplate,” said Richard H. Pildes, a professor of constitutional law at New York University. “Nothing is more explosive in a democratic system than a disputed election for the chief executive, because so much turns on who holds that office.”

Campaign operatives, election lawyers and constitutional scholars say there are several scenarios that could push the outcome of the White House race to Congress for the fourth time in history — or to the Supreme Court, as happened in the contested 2000 election.

While most agree such possibilities are slim, Trump has heightened concerns — and preparations — by repeatedly refusing to commit to conceding if he loses, while declaring that he wants the courts to play a role in deciding the race.

During the first presidential debate last week, the president repeated his unsubstantiated claims that voting by mail will lead to widespread fraud, adding that he wants the Supreme Court “to look at the ballots.”

“If it’s a fair election, I am 100 percent on board,” Trump said. “But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that.”

Many legal and voting rights experts who have been studying the arcane rules that would govern a contested election say they are less worried about Trump refusing to concede if he loses decisively than they are about a complicated delay over disputed ballots.

Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said she fears that there will be “no limits to the political hardball” and “no things that are off the table when people are trying to translate votes into political victories.”

“I wonder what that’s going to leave us with, if we don’t have any shared-upon norms, when there’s not a basic understanding that winning at all costs is not good for us,” Pérez said during a virtual panel discussion last week.

Biden’s continued strength in national and battleground-state polls has heartened Democrats, who are hopeful that he will win

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Poll shows Biden leading Trump, tight House race in key Nebraska district

A new Democratic poll shows presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the vice presidential debate Harris accuses Trump of promoting voter suppression Pence targets Biden over ISIS hostages, brings family of executed aid worker to debate MORE with a hefty lead over President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the vice presidential debate Harris accuses Trump of promoting voter suppression Pence targets Biden over ISIS hostages, brings family of executed aid worker to debate MORE in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, and Democrat Kara Eastman holding a slim advantage there over Rep. Don Bacon (R). 

A poll conducted for the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) PAC and obtained exclusively by The Hill shows Biden getting the support of 53 percent of likely voters surveyed, compared with 42 percent for Trump. Another 5 percent are undecided, will vote for another candidate or refused to answer. Biden has a heftier 58 percent to 33 percent advantage among voters who have already cast ballots. 

In the House race, Eastman narrowly leads Bacon by a 47 percent-45 percent margin, while Libertarian candidate Tyler Schaeffer gets 6 percent. Eastman also grows her lead over Bacon among those who have already voted, holding a 59 percent-36 percent edge. 

“Kara Eastman has continued to earn the support of Nebraskans by running a grassroots campaign that puts the needs of working families in her district first,” said CPC PAC co-chairpersons Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanCongress fiddles while the US burns, floods, and ails Overnight Defense: Nearly 500 former national security officials formally back Biden | 40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon’s use of coronavirus funds 40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon’s use of coronavirus funds MORE (D-Wis.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalHouse votes to condemn alleged hysterectomies on migrant women Trump proposes capping refugee admissions at 15,000 in historic low ‘One more serious try’ on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal MORE (D-Wash.) and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinJewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL Lawmakers urge IRS to get stimulus payments to domestic violence survivors OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver MORE (D-Md.). “She is in a strong position to win this election because voters know that Kara will fight to lower the cost of prescription drugs, make sure that workers have access to paid family leave and paid sick leave, and stand up to corporate special interests in Washington.” 

The district, which encompasses Omaha, is a top presidential and House battleground. The Cornhusker State is just one of two in the nation that splits up its electoral votes based on the presidential candidates’ performances both statewide and in each congressional district. 

In Nebraska, the statewide popular vote winner gets two electoral votes, and each of the state’s three congressional districts grants one electoral vote.

The state as a whole, and

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Democrat-turned-Republican Van Drew trails Amy Kennedy in New Jersey House race: poll

Democratic-turned-GOP Rep. Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewThe Hill’s Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida The Hill’s 12:30 Report: First Kennedy to lose a Massachusetts election Ex-Democrat Van Drew speaks at GOP convention MORE (N.J.) is trailing Democrat Amy Kennedy in the race for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, according to a Monmouth University poll released on Monday. 

Forty-nine percent of registered voters polled said they supported Kennedy, while 44 percent said they backed Van Drew in the South Jersey district. 

The same poll showed Kennedy leading in high voter turnout and low voter turnout scenarios as well. Kennedy beat Van Drew 50 percent to 44 percent in a high voter turnout scenario and 51 percent to 44 percent in a low turnout scenario. 

Additionally, Kennedy holds a bigger lead among Democrats than Van Drew does with Republicans. Ninety-four percent of Democrats said they supported Kennedy while 89 percent of Republicans said the same about Van Drew.

Kennedy is a former teacher and mental health advocate. She announced her candidacy in January, calling Trump and Van Drew “symptoms of a bigger sickness infecting our country and our politics.” 

Van Drew became a prime target for Democrats earlier this year when he announced that he would oppose President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE‘s impeachment and that he was leaving the Democratic Party for the Republican Party. He won his seat as a Democrat in 2018. 

The congressman explained his party-switch at the Republican National Convention in August. 

“I was elected to Council as a Democrat, but as I won seats for county office, state legislature and then Congress, I noticed things were changing — the Democrat Party had become less accepting of American tradition, less believing in American exceptionalism, less supportive of traditional faith and family,” he said. “This was not the party that I knew.” 

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.”

The Monmouth University poll was conducted on from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1 among 588 voters in New Jersey’s second congressional district. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.  

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Trump’s COVID diagnosis thrusts coronavirus pandemic back to forefront of White House race

While Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden heads to the crucial battleground state of Florida on Monday, President Trump is hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

After months of mocking the former vice president for his light in-person campaign schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic and ridiculing him for “hiding in his basement” at his home in Delaware, it’s now Trump’s who is sidelined and forced to postpone events, with a month to go until Election Day on Nov. 3, and with millions of Americans already casting absentee ballots or early voting at polling stations.

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And with the clock ticking — and the president trailing Biden in the latest public opinion polls in many of the key battleground states that will decide the White House winner — the spotlight in the presidential election has dramatically shifted once again.

Just two weeks after the death of trailblazing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rocked the race for the White House, giving the president an opportunity to rally Republicans by moving to quickly confirm a conservative justice to succeed the liberal-leaning Ginsburg on the high court, the focus of the campaign has been upended again.

President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, on Marine One helicopter after he tested positive for COVID-19. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is at second from left. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, on Marine One helicopter after he tested positive for COVID-19. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is at second from left. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The president’s confirmation early Friday morning that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 instantly put the focus of the White House race firmly back on the coronavirus and the Trump administration’s efforts to fight the pandemic. That was further heightened hours later when Trump was admitted to Walter Reed.

“It’s not good news for the president in that the focus is now going to be on Covid-19, and when the focus is on Covid-19 Biden has a 10, 11, 12-point advantage,” veteran Republican pollster and communications consultant Frank Luntz said on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino.”

Luntz stressed that “the economy is Donald Trump’s strength, and the fact that he can’t get out there now is going to be a challenge for the campaign.”

“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace agreed that “the coronavirus and the president’s handling of it is going to the top of the agenda.”

Wallace, who moderated Tuesday’s first presidential debate between Biden and Trump, spotlighted on “America’s Newsroom” that the pandemic “becomes the most important issue. … The general feeling on some peoples’ part is that the president hasn’t been cautious enough and that Biden has been too cautious. That’s going to be an issue now going forward.”

The pandemic swept the nation in February and March. Two weeks ago, the nation passed another grim milestone, as more than 200,000 COVID-19-related deaths were recorded, with than 7 million infections confirmed across the country.

Over the past

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House passes bill to ban doping horses on race day

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act moves on to the Senate.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban doping horses on race day as well as install federal regulations over the sport to help ensure the animals’ safety.

In addition to banning race-day medication — a key concern tied to the safety and well-being of the animals — the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act would establish a uniform set of track safety standards and put in place a uniform anti-doping and medication control program at all 38 racing jurisdictions.

The bill will now go to the Senate.

“This legislation tackles some of the key reasons behind the growing numbers of racehorse deaths in recent years, including the rampant doping of these animals with performance-enhancing drugs and painkillers that mask pain in order to allow injured horses to train or race,” a statement from the Humane Society reads. “Racehorses would only be allowed to compete if they are free from such drugs.”

PHOTO: John Velazquez rides Authentic in the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.,  Sept. 5, 2020.

John Velazquez rides Authentic in the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 5, 2020.

John Velazquez rides Authentic in the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 5, 2020.

The proposed legislation comes after years of controversial horse deaths and animal welfare advocates calling for federal regulation of horse racing. In March 2019, Southern California’s Santa Anita Park introduced a zero-tolerance policy for almost all medication on race day after dozens of horses died within months of beginning the season.

An average of 8.5 horses died during races every week in 2019, according to The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database. This number does not include horses that died during training.

“This is an animal protection crisis, and we commend House members for their swift and decisive vote to end it,” Humane Society CEO and President Kitty Block said in a statement.

The bill is supported by Churchill Downs Incorporated, the Louisville-based operator of the Kentucky Derby, The Jockey Club, the Breeders Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, according to the Humane Society.

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Pelosi prepares in case House must decide presidential race

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is taking extraordinary steps to prepare for the 2020 election, seeking to increase Democrats’ hold on state congressional delegations in the highly unusual scenario that the House is called on to resolve a disputed presidential contest.

“We cannot leave anything to chance,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues, emphasizing the importance of winning House seats for Democrats — not just to expand their majority but to prepare for the possibility that the House must settle the presidential race.

She said she made the planning public after President Donald Trump claimed recently that, if the election ends up in Congress, he has the advantage over Democrat Joe Biden, because Republicans control a few more delegations in the House.

“It’s sad we have to have to plan this way, but it’s what we must do to ensure the election is not stolen,” Pelosi said Sunday in the letter.


She said Trump has shown he “will do whatever it takes to remain in power.”

The strategy being put in place by Pelosi is one of several scenarios envisioned ahead of the election as Trump and Biden face off this week in the first presidential debate. Early voting is already underway in several states.

Tensions are high and rather than seeking calm, the president is sowing doubt about the nation’s ability to conduct a legitimate election, even though there is scant evidence of voter fraud. Trump tweeted fresh claims Monday of problems with ballots, but with no actual examples. “Many things are already going very wrong,” he said.

Meanwhile, states are bracing for a surge of mail-in ballots as voters avoid polling places due to potential health risks of gathering in crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Tabulating the results could drag on for days, leaving the country exposed to foreign interference or other campaigns trying to influence the outcome.

Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, has said Americans need to treat Election Day as “halftime” while awaiting the full results.

Normally, Americans cast their ballots for president and states certify the results through the Electoral College, which is made up of electors from the states. A joint session of Congress convenes Jan. 6 to tally the Electoral College votes and announce the winner. Typically, the decision has been resolved well in advance, usually on election night.

But if the Electoral College is deadlocked or unable to reach a majority outcome, the question goes to the House as a “contingent election.”

Each state’s congressional delegation, consisting of the newly elected House lawmakers, casts one vote to determine the presidential outcome, according to the House history website. The new president is to be inaugurated Jan. 20.

Democrats are not in serious danger of losing their majority in the House. But as of now, Pelosi explained, Republicans have a “razor thin” margin — 26 of the state delegations, compared with 22 for Democrats. Two states are essentially tied.

“We must achieve that majority of delegations or keep the Republicans

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